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The Atlas Cross Sport has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Forester doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
The Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium has a standard Overhead View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
Compared to metal, the Atlas Cross Sport’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Forester has a metal gas tank.
Both the Atlas Cross Sport and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.
The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport weighs 514 to 962 pounds more than the Subaru Forester. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The Atlas Cross Sport comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Forester’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The Atlas Cross Sport’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Forester’s (7 vs. 5 years).
Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Atlas Cross Sport for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forester.
The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Forester’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.
The Atlas Cross Sport’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 53 more horsepower (235 vs. 182) and 82 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Atlas Cross Sport’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 94 more horsepower (276 vs. 182) and 90 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 176) than the Forester’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.
The Atlas Cross Sport has 2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Forester (18.6 vs. 16.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Atlas Cross Sport’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:
Atlas Cross Sport
The Atlas Cross Sport’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Forester are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Atlas Cross Sport has larger standard tires than the Forester (245/60R18 vs. 225/60R17). The Atlas Cross Sport R-Line’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forester (265/45R21 vs. 225/60R17).
The Atlas Cross Sport R-Line’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Atlas Cross Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Forester. The Atlas Cross Sport R-Line’s 21-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Forester Sport/Limited/Touring.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Atlas Cross Sport’s wheelbase is 12.2 inches longer than on the Forester (117.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas Cross Sport is 5.4 inches wider in the front and 5.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Forester.
The Atlas Cross Sport has 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear legroom and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Forester.
The Atlas Cross Sport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Forester with its rear seat up (40.3 vs. 35.4 cubic feet). The Atlas Cross Sport has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Forester with its rear seat folded (77.8 vs. 76.1 cubic feet).
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Atlas Cross Sport’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The Atlas Cross Sport’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Forester’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Subaru Forester is only 1500 pounds. The Atlas Cross Sport offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.
The Atlas Cross Sport uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Forester uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The power windows standard on both the Atlas Cross Sport and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Atlas Cross Sport is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Atlas Cross Sport’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forester’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the Atlas Cross Sport the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Forester can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Atlas Cross Sport’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Atlas Cross Sport SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Forester doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the Atlas Cross Sport to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Forester doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.
The Atlas Cross Sport’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Forester Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport SE/SEL has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Forester doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Atlas Cross Sport (except S) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Forester doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Atlas Cross Sport SEL Premium’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Forester doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Atlas Cross Sport is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Forester doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
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